I wrote this several weeks ago on the back of a napkin in Starbucks:
As school draws closer I'm starting to feel a gnawing feeling grow in my chest. I remember going to college last year thinking I would be a straight-A student just like in high school. That was not the case. I especially struggled the beginning of second semester, and at time gave up hope that I had the ability to be successful. Although I was able to turn my academics around for the most part, the fear of repeating that nightmare is still with me.
What I have to do now is figure out if this emotion is justified. I recognize that a number of factors contributed to my poor performance last year, and intelligence was not one of them. My living situation, family problems, difficulty motivating myself, procrastination, attention span, fear of asking questions, and a large jump in the difficulty of class material were the biggest factors.
All of these things are completely within my control to either change, or find a solution. I have been working on and improving missing skills the whole summer. Additionally, fear of failure is not useful. The knowledge of what can lead to failure is. I have learned so much about the kind of skills I need to have and improve to do well, and I know that I can't let fear stand in my way. I've noticed that controlling my fear is really just another issue I need to work on, not a reason to dread the upcoming school year.
If I were to let the fear of falling down once keep me from getting back up, that would be the worst kind of failure there is.